vol II date / index
St. Chrodegang, Bishop, A.D. 766. B. Colette. St. Fridolin, A.D. 538. St. Baldrede. Sts. Kyneburge, Kyneswid, and Tibba. St. Cadroe, A.D. 975.
Bishop of Glasgow, died in London A.D. 608, and his relics were famous in many churches in Scotland. Bollandus says, "he was wonderfully buried in three places; seeing that three towns Aldham, Tinningham, and Preson, contended for his body." In those days when there were no parish registers, these miraculous powers of self-multiplication after death, must have been sadly perplexing to topographers and antiquaries.
The "New-come" of the year is born to-day,
With a strong lusty laugh, and joyous shout,
Uprising, with its mother, it, in play,
Throws flowers on her; pulls hard buds about,
To open them for blossom; and its voice,
Peeling o'er dells, plains, uplands, and high groves,
Startles all living things, till they rejoice
In re-creation of themselves; each loves,
And blesses each; and man's intelligence,
In musings grateful, thanks All Wise Beneficence.
SPRING commences on the 6th of March, and lasts ninety-three days.
According to Mr. Howard, whose practical information concerning the seasons is highly valuable, the medium temperature during spring is elevated, in round numbers, from 40 to 58 degrees. "The mean of the season is 48.94°—the sun effecting by his approach an advance of 11.18° upon the mean temperature of the winter. This increase is retarded in the forepart of the spring by the winds from north to east, then prevalent; and which form two-thirds of the complement of the season; but proportionately accelerated afterwards by the southerly winds, with which it terminates. A strong evaporation, in the first instance followed by showers, often with thunder and hail in the latter, characterises this period. The temperature commonly rises, not by a steady increase from day to day, but by sudden starts, from the breaking in of sunshine upon previous cold, cloudy weather. At such times, the vapour appears to be now and then thrown up, in too great plenty, into the cold region above; where being suddenly decomposed, the temperature falls back for awhile, amidst wind, showers, and hail, attended, in some instances, with frost at night."
Our ancestors varied their clothing according to the season. Strutt has given the spring dress of a man in the fourteenth century, from an illumination in a manuscript of that age: this is a copy of it.
In "Sylvan Sketches," a new and charming volume by the lady who wrote the "Flora Domestica," it is delightfully observed, that, "the young and joyous spirit of spring sheds its sweet influence upon every thing: the streams sparkle and ripple in the noon-day sun, and the birds carol tipseyly in their merriest ditties. It is surely the loveliest season of the year." One of our living minstrels sings of a spring day, that it
Looks beautiful, as when an infant wakes
From its soft slumbers;
and the same bard poetically reminds us, with more than poetical truth, that at this season, when we
See life and bliss around us flowing,
Wherever space or being is,
The cup of joy is full and flowing.
Another, whose numbers are choralled by worshipping crowds, observes with equal truth, and under the influence of high feelings, for seasonable abundance, that
To enjoy is to obey. Watts.
Grateful and salutary spring the plants
Which crown our numerous gardens, and
Invite to health and temperance, in the simple meal,
Unpoisoned with rich sauces, to provoke
Th' unwilling appetite to gluttony.
For this, the bulbous esculents their roots
With sweetness fill; for this, with cooling juice
The green herb spreads its leaves; and opening buds,
And flowers and seeds, with various flavours.
Sweet is thy coming, Spring!—and as I pass
Thy hedge-rows, where from the half-naked spray
Peeps the sweet bud, and 'midst the dewy grass
The tufted primrose opens to the day:
My spirits light and pure confess thy pow'r
Of balmiest influence: there is not a tree
That whispers to the warm noon-breeze; nor flow'r
Whose bell the dew-drop holds, but yields to me
Predestinings of joy: O, heavenly sweet
Illusion!—that the sadly pensive breast
Can for a moment from itself retreat
To outward pleasantness, and be at rest:
While sun, and fields, and air, the sense have wrought
Of pleasure and content, in spite of thought!
In spring the ancient Romans celebrated the Ludi Florales. These were annual games in honour to Flora, accompanied by supplications for beneficent influences on the grass, trees, flowers, and other products of the earth, during the year. The Greeks likewise invoked fertility on the coming of spring with many ceremonies. The remains of the Roman festivals, in countries which the Roman arms subdued, have been frequently noticed already; and it is not purposed to advert to them further, than by observing that there is considerable difficulty in so apportioning every usage in a modern ceremony, as to assign each to its proper origin. Some may have been common to a people before they were conquered; others may have been the growth of later times. Spring, as the commencement of the natural year, must have been hailed by all nations with satisfaction; and was, undoubtedly, commemorated, in most, by public rejoicing and popular sports.
Dr. Samuel Parr died on the 6th of March, 1825.
A SPRING FESTIVAL.
The Germans retain many of the annual customs peculiar to themselves before the Roman conquest. Whether a ceremony described in the "Athenæum," as having been observed in Germany of late years, is derived from the victors, or from the ancient nations, is not worth discussing.
The approach of spring was there commemorated with an abundance of display, its allegorical character was its most remarkable feature. It was called Der Sommers-gewinn, the acquisition of summer; and about thirty years ago was delebrated at the begining [sic] of spring by the inhabitants of Eisenach, in Saxony, who, for that purpose, divided themselves into two parties. One party carried winter under the shape of a man covered with straw, out of the town, and then, as it were, sent him into public exile; whilst the other party, at a distance from the town, decked spring, or, as it was vulgarly called, summer, in the form of youth, with boughs of cypress and May, and marched in solemn array to meet their comrades, the jocund executioners of winter. In the meanwhile national ballads, celebrating the delights of spring and summer, filled the skies; processions paraded the meadows and fields, loudly imploring the blessings of a prolific summer; and the jovial merry-makers then brought the victor-god home in triumph. In the course of time, however, this ceremonial underwent various alterations. The parts, before personified, were now performed by real dramatis personæ; one arrayed as spring, and another as winter, entertained the spectators with a combat, wherein winter was ultimately vanquished and stripped of his emblematical attire; spring, on the contrary, being hailed as victor, was led in triumph, amidst the loud acclamations of the multitiude, into the town. From this festival originated a popular ballad, composed of stanzas each of which conclude [sic] thus:
Heigho! heigho! heigho! Summer is at hand!
Winter has lost the game,
Summer maintain'd its fame;
Heigho! heigho! heigho! Summer is at hand!
The day whereon the jubilee takes place is denominated der Todten sonntag, the dead Sunday. The reason may be traced perhaps to the analogy which winter bears to the sleep of death, when the vital powers of nature are suspended. The conjecture is strengthened by this distich in the ballad before quoted:
Now we've vanquish'd Death,
And Summer's return ensured:
Were Death still unsubdued,
How much had we endured!
But of late years the spirit of this festival has disappeared. Lately, winter was uncouthly shaped of wood, and being covered with straw, was nailed against a large wheel, and the straw being set on fire, the apparatus was rolled down a steep hill! Agreeably to the intention of its inventors, the blazing wheel was by degrees knocked to pieces, against the precipices below, and they—winter's effigy, to the admiration of the multitude, split into a thousand fiery fragments. This custom too, merely from the danger attending it, quickly fell into disuse; but still a shadow of the original festivity, which it was meant to commemorate, is preserved amongst the people of Eisenach. "Although" says the writer of these particulars, "we find winter no longer sent into banishment, as in former times, yet an attempt is made to represent and conciliate spring by offerings of nosegays and sprays of evergreen, adorned with birds or eggs, emblematical of the season." Probably the latter usages may not have been consequent upon the decline of the former, but were coeval in their origin, and are the only remains of ancient customs peculiar to the season.
Lent Lilly. Narcissus Pseudonarcissus multiplex.
Dedicated to St. Colette